19:05 GMT05 August 2021
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    Donald Trump has indicated that all options are on the table when it comes to resolving the North Korean issue, including diplomacy and the use of force, but Stephen Hoadley, Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations at the University of Auckland, told Radio Sputnik that there is no military solution to this crisis.

    "The military option is simply not viable, because North Koreans are well-fortified. They have a large number of installations scattered across their country. They are determined to fight. The United States with all of its military might simply does not have a good option. A surgical strike would not accomplish anything except make North Koreans even madder," he said.

    In fact, all punitive measures are bad, he added. A military option could lead to great loss of life, while additional economic sanctions are likely to leave North Koreans without food and fuel.

    In addition, "South Koreans are still under the guns and short-range missiles of North Korea. That's not going to go away," Hoadley said, pointing to extra challenges. "Would there be a possibility that South Korea would begin looking at nuclear weapons acquisition itself? And if the South Koreans get nuclear weapons, would the Japanese follow the same route? Would there be a tense nuclear weapons standoff overlaying the current conventional weapons standoff?"

    Relations between the United States and North Korea sharply deteriorated after Pyongyang stepped up its military efforts, carrying out a series of missile tests and pledging to conduct its sixth nuclear test. The latest took place on Sunday, with the DPRK claiming that it had successfully tested its brand-new ground-to-ground intermediate ballistic missile, known as the Hwasong-12.

    As a result, Washington officially ended its policy of "strategic patience" toward the reclusive nation, saying that all options are on the table. In addition, the US Navy sent its Carl Vinson Strike Group to the Korean Peninsula, prompting many to question whether Washington could carry out an attack against Pyongyang.

    The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, escorted by US and South Korean warships. File photo
    © REUTERS / Sean M. Castellano/Courtesy U.S. Navy
    However, in late April, Washington toned down its rhetoric toward the DPRK, with President Trump saying that he was ready to hold talks with Kim Jong-un under certain circumstances. Hoadley, Honorary Captain of the Royal New Zealand Navy, said that direct negotiations would be a good idea, but hard to implement.

    "The question would be where they would meet. You think that Donald Trump would fly to Pyongyang? Would they meet in Geneva? Would they meet in Moscow? Would they meet in Washington? Setting up the logistics of such a meeting would be enormous, not to mention security for these two very controversial leaders," the analyst said.

    Hoadley further mentioned that a meeting between Moon Jae-in, the newly elected president of South Korea, and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un could "diffuse tensions a little bit."

    "Maybe Donald Trump would be a pragmatic deal maker and bargain with Kim Jong-un for some sort of a face-saving concession that would lower the temperature and allow the US battle group to leave North Korean waters. Then the possibility of a military conflict would go down," he suggested.

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    South Korea, US, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), Kim Jong-un, Donald Trump, Moon Jae-in, Hwasong-12, talks, missile test, military option, North Korea missile launch
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